Letter by Rav Kook gives Temple activists a boost

The rabbi was writing his letter amidst the brutal Arab riots of 1929, which included the Hebron Massacre, over Jewish access to the Western Wall.

August 29, 2017 01:51
2 minute read.
Letter by Rav Kook gives Temple activists a boost

TEMPLE MOUNT ACTIVISTS claim a recently revealed letter authored by former chief rabbi Rav Kook supports their position on visiting the holy site in modern Israel times.. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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With a crisis over Temple Mount only recently resolved and a visit to the site by several MKs scheduled for Tuesday, a revealed letter authored by the revered forefather of the national-religious movement Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Hacohen Kook has been claimed by Temple Mount activists as support for their position.

While numerous rabbis from the national-religious sector do permit Jews to visit certain areas of the site, there are prominent and influential rabbis who do not, an argument that has been a source of tension within the community.

Kook himself, who established the Chief Rabbinate and served as the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi, stated on several occasions that he opposed to Jewish visitation to the Temple Mount.

But in the recently disclosed letter written by Kook to Rabbi Shmuel David Halevi in 1929, the rabbi stressed that for practical reasons he believed it to be imprudent and dangerous to talk about Jewish visitation to the Temple Mount.

“At the moment, because of the political situation and the general danger from the ones who hate us who falsely accuse us of desiring to take the place of the Temple from them forcibly on which, because of our sins, they erected their mosque, God forbid that we publicize any thought that speaks of human efforts for entering the place of the Temple before the revelation of God’s light in the complete and supreme redemption,” wrote Kook.

The rabbi was writing his letter amidst the brutal Arab riots of 1929, which included the Hebron Massacre, over Jewish access to the Western Wall, and he mentioned the violence in his letter saying that “we are currently immersed in a sea of trouble in which the wild, impure murderers and their evil supporters, have harmed us.”

According to Asaf Fried, spokesman for an association of organizations dedicated to Jewish rights on Temple Mount, said the letter demonstrates that the “political reality” spoken of by Kook was a reference to the riots and was the motivating factor of his decision not to permit Jewish visitation to the Temple Mount.

“The ‘political reality’ and ‘danger to people’ in the slaughter of Jews under the cover of the British are what forced Rav Kook to hide his Torah opinion regarding the Temple Mount because of the ‘wild, impure murderers and their evil supporters’ who threatened the House of Israel with destruction,” said Fried.

He added that the letter gives further credence to a statement made by Kook’s grandson Rabbi Shlomo Raanan who said the chief rabbi would have approved visiting the Temple Mount in modern Israel given the change in the political situation compared to that in Mandate Palestine in 1929.

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